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Howard v. King

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

March 15, 2019

CODY S. HOWARD, SR. PLAINTIFF
v.
STEPHEN KING (Medical Team Administrator), CAPTAIN GOLDEN, WARDEN JEFFIE WALKER, SHERIFF JACKIE RUNION, and DR. TIMOTHY REYNOLDS DEFENDANTS

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HON. JAMES R. MARSCHEWSKI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation.

         Currently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss by Defendants King and Reynolds. (ECF No. 8).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on August 31, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Miller County Correctional Facility (MCCF). Plaintiff alleges he was denied medical care in MCCF between May 12, 2018, and August 8, 2018. He states he informed the facility of his sickle cell disease when he entered the facility, the information is in his records, and he was still refused treatment and medication for the disease. (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiff also alleges he suffered “medical neglect” and racial discrimination in relation to his bunk assignment. He alleges that on August 1, 2018, he asked for a lower bunk assignment or “scrip” because he had rods and screws in his leg. Nurse King reviewed his medical records and informed him he did not qualify for the lower bunk assignment. Plaintiff alleges that in addition to the rods and pins, his sickle cell disease negatively affected the strength in his legs. He alleges the denial also constituted racial discrimination because a white inmate with “just rods and pins in his ankle” received a lower bunk assignment. (Id. at 5-6).

         Plaintiff names all Defendants for all claims. (Id. at 4, 5). He proceeds against all Defendants in their official and personal capacity. (Id.). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff further states he “would love for them to just abide by all state and federal guidelines of a correctional facility and treat all inmates the same.” (Id.).

         Defendants King and Reynolds filed their Motion to Dismiss on September 25, 2018. (ECF No. 8). On September 27, 2018, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file a Response to the Motion. (ECF No. 12). Plaintiff did so on October 18, 2018. (ECF No. 17).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), ‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations omitted)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. While the Court will liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support his claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants King and Reynolds argue Plaintiff failed to allege any facts to support any official capacity claims against their employer, Southern Health Partners, Inc. (ECF No. 8 at 1). They further argue Plaintiff has failed to allege any facts indicating that they were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs. (Id. at 2). Defendant Reynolds argues Plaintiff failed to allege any facts which would support an Equal Protection claim against him. (Id. at 1).

         Plaintiff's Response stated only that “they” were notified through jail requests and grievances. (ECF No. 17).

         A. Official Capacity Claims - Defendants King and Reynolds

         Both Defendant King and Defendant Reynolds are employees of Southern Health Partners, Inc. (ECF No. 8 at 1; 9 at 3). Plaintiff failed to allege any facts supporting any plausible official capacity claims against Southern Health Partners, Inc. Under Section 1983, a defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official capacity, or in both. In Gorman v. Bartch,152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998), the Eighth Circuit Court ...


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